OpenSignalMaps: yeah, Android is pretty fragmented

OpenSignalMaps: yeah, Android is pretty fragmentedMy insane-o brain loves stats and graphs and pie charts and that, so you can imagine my excitement when OneSignalMaps published a whole bunch of stuff about Android fragmentation. Just look at that info-beast above. Fantastic.

The report breaks down 681,900 downloads of the OpenSignalMaps Android app over a six-month period, and makes for incredibly interesting – and occasionally funny – reading.

There were 3,997 distinct Android devices noted by OpenSignalMaps, the most popular of course being the Samsung Galaxy S II with 61,389 users.

At the other end of the scale, there were unique hits from bizarre Android devices such as the Concorde Tab (a 10.1in Hungarian tablet), the Lemon P1 (an Indian dual-SIM phone) and – my personal favourite – the EBEST E68. I never leave home without it.

Of the 599 brands, the leader again was Samsung, with 270,144 devices or 40% of the market. Miles behind in second and third respectively are HTC and Sony (Ericsson).

Unsurprisingly, Gingerbread (Android 2.3) was the dominant version of Android. Indeed, OSM notes that that was the case in April 2011 and April 2012 (remember this is OSM downloads as opposed to the entire Android ecosystem).

Fancy reading more? Check out OSM’s report “The many faces of a little green robot”.

Read more about: Samsung Galaxy S2Android

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CTPAHHIK  May. 17, 2012 at 12:23

Nice set of data, but I have this weird feeling that angry birds sample would be more accurate.

Pondlife  May. 17, 2012 at 12:43

Pfft still nothing compared to windows computers.
Never heard of osm before so at least they've got some publicity I guess.

CTPAHHIK  May. 17, 2012 at 12:49

It's a cool app that runs on your phone and scans available towers (and kills battery in few hours). Data is uploaded to centralized database.
You can use their website to get an idea how incomplete their coverage maps are.

yowanvista  May. 17, 2012 at 13:02

First of all Android isn't even fragmented, the correct term is 'Differentiation'. This Fragmentation term was never used to depict Android's ecosystem, do you even release that Steve Jobs invented that term during the iPhone's launch to downgrade Android? And Fragmentation and Differentiation are two complete different things. As Google Executives said, fragmentation is when apps don't work on different devices. Differentiation is user experience or modifications and innovation every manufacturer wants to do to produce a unique experience. So from the start itself the assumption that Android is Fragmented itself fails to hold any degree to credibility. Not trying to be rude but one can assume that anyone who attaches Fragmentation to Android somehow supports Apple's statement.

JanSt / MOD  May. 17, 2012 at 13:13

yowanvista... Come again?
Currently about 1,500 different devices run some version of Android. Even the most obliging devs say they can, at best cover 60% of those devices. THAT is fragmentation. Or call it " scabblefrabble"... But don't try and put lipstick on it.

yowanvista  May. 17, 2012 at 13:18

yowanvista... Come again?
Currently about 1,500 different devices run some version of Android. Even the most obliging devs say they can, at best cover 60% of those devices. THAT is fragmentation. Or call it " scabblefrabble"... But don't try and put lipstick on it.

"Even the most obliging devs say they can, at best cover 60% of those devices."
I develop for Android the development tools and SDK have been refined and continue to do so and when you build an app you just have to follow the guidelines and they will work fine "AMAZINGLY" with all this "fragmentation".

There are zero problems developing for Android. The only thing we Android developers had to deal with was min SDKsuport and considering that now it's 2.3 up to ICS and Google has released an SDK Compatbility Library that makes most, if not all, APIs from ICS available for devices running lower versions of Android OS, I don't see how "amazingly difficult" it is to develop for Android.

I can't stand these uninformed and overhyped articles that are basically trolling without a single clue about the topic in hand. You get hits trolling and talking nonsense about Android fragmentation don't you?

jaybear88  May. 17, 2012 at 13:49

Jan, I'd be really curious to know whether those 1500-or-so devices are current and therefore the 60% may be a little misleading. Afterall, alot of the appStore won't run on the original iPhone and I most definately wouldn't call iOS "fragmented"! Also, it also might be interesting to see how many of those devices are "non-official" as it would simply be nit-picking to include them.

JanSt / MOD  May. 17, 2012 at 14:20

@yowanvista ,

I appreciate your comeback - I was a tad harsh, because, frankly, I'm a bit tired of
debates about 1 OS that always lead to a debate about another one.

Maybe I was also not quite to the point.

I was referring partly to these devs and their problems with Android.
So, to say all is peachy in Android dev-world seems at odds with those guys (who I spoke to on Twitter, also)...

I have never made a comment with any consideration for Google hits. So stop there, okay ;)

And if
There are zero problems developing for Android
why the bitternes? Okay, wait, I'm not interested, because I can live quite well without your aggresiveness.

You won. Smile

Still, please let us know what you have been developing for Android?!

Also, I suppose these folks =>> know nothing about Android development, either cause they are iFans like me?

That's me gone. Just carry on politely ;)

satchef1  May. 17, 2012 at 14:34

I'm pretty sure Steve Jobs couldn't have mentioned Android fragmentation at the iPhone launch, unless he actually was omnipotent. The iPhone launched 18-months before the Google G1/HTC Dream. Android won't have become fragmented until some time after that, probably a good 2-2.5 years after the iPhone launched (IIRC talk of fragmentation started around the time that the HTC Hero was big news).

As I understand it, criticisms over fragmentation were most relevant in the early days of Android, when differences between handsets (available hardware, screen resolutions, OS versions, hardware vendor modifications) were causing issues. It's not such an issue now. Android is no less fragmented (possibly more so than ever?) but it's no longer the problem that it once was. These days it mainly refers to the act that new handsets are still being released with Android 2.3, or that one handset can be running multiple different versions of Android between carriers due to some carriers' unwillingness to provide upgrades. From a feature-set perspective this is an issue; when you walk in to a store to buy an Android handset you're not guaranteed a specific set of OS features, you have to look at what that phone in particular has and rate the handset on it's merits. Likewise when updates roll, it's not great for the platform's reputation when bugs aren't fixed due to carriers not wanting to push updates, or your friends get upgraded to the latest OS version with all the new features while you do not. It's that stuff Google still need to work on; they need to get vendors releasing handsets based on the latest OS build (maybe, say, within 6 months of releasing a new version?) and they need to get carriers to commit to upgrades for a certain timeframe (A year or 18 months? I can't see them agreeing to more as their worry is people won't upgrade if their existing handset does everything that the new ones do. As the hardware race slows this will become more of a problem).

JanSt / MOD  May. 17, 2012 at 14:37

Good points, satchef1

Pondlife  May. 17, 2012 at 14:41

They tried that already and was supposed to lead to more timely updates after launch of ICS. Seems that this is why they've started selling their phones direct again.

satchef1  May. 17, 2012 at 14:54

Yeah, I gather they tried. Evidently not hard enough, but effort was made to sort things out. I guess this is the curse of being Open Source; if they were selling the OS then they could require that updates are rolled out as part of the licensing agreement.

I don't think anyone knows how Google are going to pull this off, but they'll need to. There's still rumours of cheaper iPhones and iPads, Windows Phone is gaining ground and Samsung (along with many other big industry names) are currently looking very seriously at Tizen as a future big-player. Google have had it fairly easy the past 4 years, with the only real competition being Apple. Everyone else has been in decline.

Pondlife  May. 17, 2012 at 16:18

Windows phone is gaining ground, oh it's the way you tell em, lol

I think chances of cheaper ipads and phones has increased but not convinced it fits with their business model, it's not doing them any harm keeping them at that level so not much reason to change.

I think Samsung have just been covering options in case google/motorola proved a big issue but don't think it will.

barrybarryk  May. 17, 2012 at 17:26

Running on multiple sets of hardware is a good thing. How is choice bad?

If you want to moan about 'fragmented' android, then moan at the manufacturers for not rolling out updates quick enough, but then again a 'fragmented' eco-system doesn't really bother a user since they generally have one phone, it's a developers problem to support them.


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